Dutch rolled in his sleep, trying to sleep off one too many rounds at Moe’s in the wake of Deathwish‘s demise. *What’s… happening… what’s that infernal racket* he thought as he slowly awoke to the sound of someone pounding on his door. His senses reengaged, and the vanilla stench of a half-empty bottle of bourbon from the corner wafted through his small hutch. “Shut it, I’m trying to sleep here” he snarled at the door before rolling over.
“Dutch!” a sharp, nasal voice called. Dutch groaned as he recognized Phil‘s voice. "Amos says he needs you up on the north wall right now, and he’ll sit at the card table with you and Lenny for stakes if you come out" Phil called to him.
That was enough to at least get Dutch’s attention. Amos wasn’t much of a card player, but he did like to bet big when he played. And he almost never played with Dutch, Lenny, and Deathwish. Or just Lenny’n me now… frak he cursed, slamming a fist into his bed.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m coming Phil. Just gimme a minute” he sighed, pushing out of his bed. He ran a hand down the thin stubble starting on his face, then through his coarse, black hair as he slipped into a green undershirt and his cammie pants. Scowling, he opened the door.
“What’s so frakkin’ important that Amos needs to get me up right now” he said, more than a hint of anger in his voice to Phil. Phil had come prepared it seemed, and offered the merc a cup of coffee – or was it battery acid, the taste might’ve been about the same – before he spoke up.
“Look, Amos just said to get you, Dutch, and tell you to bring your gear. He’s on the north tower” Phil replied, shaking his head. Jake gratefully scooped up the coffee cup from the survivor of the farm and downed it one long pull.
“Yeah, yeah, get to the north tower, bring the kit, right” he said, handing the metal cup back to Phil. “Let him know I’ll be up shortly” he said, slamming the door in Phil’s face. Damnit, can’t I even get one night to mourn!? he lamented as he slipped into his gear.
His body armor was strewn in a couple pieces. After the most recent fight with Scarytown, a new dent had joined the half-dozen or so in the chestpiece. The olive drab plate strapped over Dutch’s chest and closed up, a long scratch from a raider who’d tried to knife him running down the back. He slipped his web gear, festooned with extra ammo, a knife, and a few other oddments, over the armor, then buckled in his greaves and DAPs. The left greave bore a charred mark from a piece of a grenade burst it had caught during one of his forays down towards Scarytown. With Deathwish.
He sighed again before he slipped his pistol into its holster, the matte black finish of the weapon still immaculate, as Dutch barely ever used it in the field. His subgun – its finish scratched from constant use – was slung and then strapped across into a secure carry position. He then grabbed his rifle, turning it over in his hands once. He’d had this rifle since he was barely thirteen, when he’d landed at the Waystation with a traveling convoy. He’d pulled that off the corpse of a raider he’d beaten to death with his own hands, and that was enough to impress Marco and get himself a steady gig at the Waystation. The wood of the stock was a sharp contrast to the metal and plastics of the receiver and action, and the old tech scope perched atop it. And that was without the silencer that made it such an excellent tool for destruction, or the old-world rounds that went through body armor like it didn’t exist.
Dutch stepped outside. He damn well ought to have looked ridiculous festooned with that much firepower, but he didn’t. He looked like a man accompanied by a few old friends who’d be happy to help out if he needed it The fact that Dutch was barely twenty and already had three guns that counted as ‘very old friends’ said something about life in the Apocalypse, but that wasn’t his concern right now – Amos was.
After Grandfather had died and Marco took over as the Hardholder, Amos had ended up taking Marco’s previous job as head of security. Amos looked nothing like a hardboy – he was barely 5’ 5", needed thick glasses to see, and wasn’t what you’d call obviously strong. That’s just his game, though. He’s the best hand to hand fighter we’ve got in the Waystation, and probably the toughest bastard I’ve ever met Dutch figured. And that wasn’t even the scary part about him. Amos was a sharp motherfrakker to boot, and even though he was a good bit more aggressive than Grandfather had liked, he planned things out before he acted.
That’s how he got rid of that raiding party last year… and good God, does the man hate Raiders he thoguht as he shimmied up the ladder to get into the North Tower. Amos’s whole family – wife, daughter, and two sons- had been killed almost six years ago now, and that event had turned the meek little farmer into Marco’s Number One Guy. Rapidly. And now, he’s running all of Security… he thought, biting a lip.
Amos was known as one of the most aggressive folks in the Waystation. He’d advocated wiping out Scarytown several times, so that the Scavvers could get that far south and get some good stuff. Before the Farm fell, but after things there had turned to shit, he’d also proposed a ‘peacekeeping’ team be sent there to keep the peace by removing all firearms from the place, since they were so obviously about to turn raider. A very direct man with his enemies. Sharp, too Dutch figured as he swung up and over the ladder, into the tower.
Amos was waiting for him along with Tony, one of the regular Security types. “Dutch boy” Amos called, walking towards him. Tony, by contrast, was holding up a set of binos and scanning… the road in from Scarytown. Dutch’s eyes narrowed at that, and the ‘boy’ moniker everyone knew he hated, but could never quite shake.
“Amos. Phil said it was important” he grumbled back, lips a little thin as he made it clear he was not amused by any of this.
“Oh, it is important, just not quite urgent. Must maintain appearances, you see, and you coming up to a tower without your gear would raise a few eyes. Just wanted to talk…” he said, offering Dutch a mug of his preferred strong tea. Dutch accepted it out of politeness, then motioned to Amos coarsely.
“So talk. You dragged my ass out of bed on a bad night, Amos, what’s so frakkin’ important that it couldn’t wait until morning?” Dutch respond, disgruntled.
“Oh, I just wanted to hear your perspective on Scarytown. I’ve been warning Grandfather for years we needed to do something about those raider assholes, but he kept saying the uneasy peace would hold. Now, though, they killed one of ours, and it seems clear that they have no interest in coexisting with anyone. It would be… helpful, shall we say, if you could emphasize that to Marco next time you talk with him” he said.
Dutch let out a bitter chortle before he replied. “You think? Those motherless bastards have been a problem for too long. Every frakkin’ time we go down there, we worry, someone gets hurt, and they laugh. If Hooch wasn’t on an escort run tonight…” Dutch said, clenching a fist as he trailed off.
Amos shook his head at that. “Now, now, Dutch. That would just get a lot of people dead. All of Scarytown, sure, and that’s good, but also a good pile of the Bastards, my boys, and you to boot most likely. We do this, we do it *smart*” he emphasized. “And we don’t do it unilaterally. You need to pull back on pushing for immediate action – I heard about what you said at Moe’s. Going to Scarytown with the Bastards and rolling over them might sound good, but do you really think its going to work?” he said, two very, very cold blue eyes boring into Dutch’s through the glasses. “If we’re ever going to stamp that cesspool out, we need to do it smart. And someone like you is too damned valuable to that part to throw you away on a personal quest for vengeance. So speak to Marco, have your say with him about getting rid of these raiding bastards, but you don’t go off playing crusader and get your ass shot off. You hear me, boy?” he said in a tone Dutch had heard a couple times before.
Directed at raiders they’d taken alive before Amos began his ‘interrogations’.
Dutch gulped. Fear wasn’t something the young gunlugger was used to feeling, and he almost never felt it around the Waystation, but he got the distinct sense from Amos that he’d better listen to this one. Or at least not come back if I manage to take out the bastards… he thought, nodding back to Amos.
“Yeah… nothing stupid boss…” he said. The ice in those eyes relented a moment later as Amos nodded. He then slid a flask over.
“Good. Get back to bed, Dutch” he said quietly before turning back to Tony. More loudly, this time, he said “I told you there was nothing there and that we didn’t need Dutch to shoot it, Tony” as the merc climbed back down the ladder. Dawn had started to break, and with coffee and tea in him, Dutch was already up and about. May as well start the day now he figured, heading towards the motor pool to get a look at the truck Deathwish had died for before starting his patrol…